STRONG FINISH Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Returns to Midwest Hoping To Continue Recent Trend of September Wins INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 10, 2008) -- During the last two Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series seasons,...
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Returns to Midwest Hoping To Continue Recent Trend of September Wins
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 10, 2008) -- During the last two Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series seasons, Donny Schatz has shown his strength following the annual Gold Cup Race of Champions in California. Each season, Schatz has won the first WoO races following the annual Gold Rush Tour en route to winning consecutive WoO series championships.
Schatz will be looking to continue that trend this week as he returns to the Midwest behind the wheel of the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J. The 31 year-old Fargo, N.D., resident will resume action tonight at Clay County Fair Speedway (CCFS) in Spencer, Iowa, before competing this weekend at US 36 Raceway in Cameron, Mo., Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.) and Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo.
The two-time WoO champion hopes to continue the consistency he has shown during the final stretches the past two seasons. In 2006, he took five wins in the final 11 WoO races. Last year, he won six of the final 13 shows to close out his second championship season. Starting Wednesday, there are 17 scheduled feature events remaining in 2008, and Schatz will need to win seven of those to reach the coveted 20-win milestone.
Tonight's return to CCFS offers Schatz the chance to make it consecutive victories at the 3/8-mile dirt oval. Last September, Schatz was victorious before a standing-room-only crowd. He has two WoO wins in the state of Iowa this year, both coming at Knoxville Raceway, where he also picked up his third consecutive Knoxville Nationals crown last month.
In two appearances at US 36 Raceway, Schatz has experienced both good and bad results. On May 5, 2006, he qualified second in the field of 40 cars, but got upside-down in both the dash and feature events before being credited with a 21st-place finish. Last May, he was the fastest qualifier and finished fifth in the 40-lap feature.
In true Outlaw style, Saturday night's race has some added intrigue for Schatz and the rest of the series competitors. A local group has put up a $1,000 bounty for any driver who defeats Schatz in the feature event on the 3/8-mile oval. There's incentive for Schatz, too, as the Topeka Capital-Journal has put up a $500 bonus if he can win his second consecutive feature at HPT and third overall. After hosting two WoO events on a temporary surface built on the HPT drag strip, a permanent facility was constructed in 2001 and has hosted three WoO events. Schatz won the first WoO race at the facility in 2001, and also won last fall, on Sept. 14, when he led the final eight laps to score the victory.
On Sunday, Schatz will travel to the new Lucas Oil Speedway, where he and the rest of the Outlaws will be making their debut. Schatz has added six new tracks to his career WoO list in 2008, and he'd like to make it eight with victories at US 36 and Lucas Oil Speedway.
Following the 12-race Gold Rush Tour through the west, Schatz continues to lead the WoO season point standings with 7,174 points, 104 ahead of Jason Meyers. Schatz has 37 top-fives this season and has finished inside the top-10 in 48 of the 51 events this year.
Today, the pit gates at Clay County Fair Speedway will open at 2 p.m. CDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For race tickets, contact CDR Promotions at (763) 389-9717. The official Web site of Clay County Fair Speedway is www.claycountyfair.com/racing.
For Friday's event at US 36 Raceway and Saturday's race at Heartland Park Topeka, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For race tickets and other event information on both events, contact SLS Promotions at (815) 344-2023. The official Web site of US 36 Raceway is www.us36raceway.com, and the official Web site of Heartland Park Topeka is hpt.com.
Sunday, the pit gates at Lucas Oil Speedway will open at 4 p.m. CDT with the grandstands opening at 5 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For race tickets, contact Lucas Oil Speedway at (417) 282-5984. The official Web site of Lucas Oil Speedway is lucasoilspeedway.com.
Race fans unable to attend this week's events can catch all of the action from Clay County Fair Speedway, US 36 Raceway, Heartland Park Topeka, and Lucas Oil Speedway on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, "Voice of the Outlaws," calls the action as he does at all WoO Sprint Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.
Donny Schatz, driver of the No. 15 TSR/Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J:
The western swing is behind you and now you're back to racing in the Midwest. The last two seasons, that's been a good thing for you. Do you expect the same this year?
"We're hoping that we can do what we did the past two years and win a couple of races this week. The swing through the west seems to be a time when we get creative and try some new things. You have to keep trying things to stay ahead of the competition, so we'll bank that data we learned and see if we can use it down the stretch.
"Honestly, right now we're just focused on winning as many of these final races as we can. Our win total isn't where we feel like it should be, so that's the first goal -- to be in contention for wins from here on out. We've been fortunate in the past to be successful at some of these tracks, but that doesn't give us any advantage this week. It comes back to working hard and being the best you can be every time you hit the track. This is a great opportunity for us and one of the last times this year when we race four nights in a week."
There was a bounty put out on you for Saturday's race at Heartland Park Topeka. Has that ever happened to you before?
"I don't think so, but I guess it's just of matter of where things are, now. Everyone likes to see a new winner and I guess they are trying to make it known that they want a good show. I'm happy the Topeka Capital-Journal came on board to offer me something extra for winning, too. It's all in good fun, but the bottom line is that we are still headed there trying to win the race. I hope we've got a shot at the end of the night to put the Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore-sponsored J&J in victory lane."
For complete Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series results, log on to www.worldofoutlaws.com. For information regarding TSR, Schatz, Armor All, Chevy, or ParkerStore, log on to www.tonystewartracing.com, www.donnyschatz.com, www.aa-ownercenter.com, www.chevrolet.com, or www.parkerstore.com.